A slight setback for our onward progress occurred yesterday when the boatyard mistakenly painted Tintin’s hull with a copper containing paint. Copper works very effectively to prevent algae and barnacles growing on the bottom of a boat, but the chemists among you may know that painting an aluminium boat with a copper containing paint is a bad idea. There is a risk of the aluminium hull dissolving like a sugar lump and that is something we wish to avoid!
We had spent the day on a wonderful trip by dugout canoe up the Chagres river in the middle of the Panama isthmus to visit a village of Embera Indians. Before we set out we checked that the boatyard team were starting work - and on our return at 5pm Tintin was looking very smart with a new blue bottom - 2 coats of it. But then we saw the empty cans and realised the error. The boatyard manager had realised just too late: but he was there to apologise.
An easy mistake to make but one no-one would have predicted! So sadly we have missed our canal transit slot for today. The boatyard team are hard at work sanding the paint off. We'll need to patch up the epoxy primer where they have gone through to the hull and then have the right paint applied.
Fingers crossed we will be set for transit on Thursday instead, and we hope that the Panama Canal agent will be able to fit us in to the plans. It is all a bit of a headache for the agent and the ARC team as the plans for yachts transiting have to be submitted weeks in advance.
So, we shall "use the difficulty" (Michael Caine's motto) and enjoy exploring here a bit more - this afternoon we’ll walk through the adjoining national park to Fort San Lorenzo on the coast and look out for howler monkeys in the trees. Richard and Nicki have volunteered their services as line handlers for other yachts going through the canal today and tomorrow, then they'll return overland to join us again for our transit, with the added bonus of one transit’s worth experience – 100% more than we have now.
The schedule for the 2 days of transit (hopefully Thursday/Friday) is as follows:
Thursday: 17:00 Panama canal Advisor arrives on board
18:30 transit Gatun lock
19:50 Moor up for the night in Gatun lake, Advisor goes home for the night
Friday: 07:00 Advisor returns, continue through canal, through Pedro Miguel and Miraflores locks and out under the Bridge of the Americas to the Pacific Ocean by around 16:00
If you are interested , there is a webcam overlooking the Miraflores lock and you might catch us going through on Friday at around 8pm GMT. We’ll update the blog with more exact timings when we know. The link is:
(click on the ‘high resolution’ tabs)